THE new National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) warehouse under construction near Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital in Mutareis almost complete, and is expected to start operating early next year.
The Mutare NatPharm warehouse which will house around 6 000 pallets of medicine will enhance the availability of health services by providing adequate storage for essential medicines and supplies.
The new warehouse’s carrying capacity will be four times more than the old warehouse which sits on about 842 square metres.
In an interview, Manicaland Provincial Medical Director, Dr Munyaradzi Mukuzunga said the project, which began in February 2022, has a budget of US$6 million and covers an area of 2 600 square-metres.
Dr Mukuzunga said while the construction of the building is now complete, the tarmac markings for the access road that connects the warehouse to the main road remains outstanding.
“Another issue that is still outstanding is the electricity connection. We are expecting that by the end of this year, it will be done and the warehouse will be electrified.
“The warehouse will also be powered by a generator and solar energy. We are happy to announce that the acquisition of the back-up generator and solar system has already begun,” said Dr Mukuzunga.
He said shelves for the warehouse are also expected to arrive before year-end, with installation beginning thereafter.
“We are happy and thrilled that in the following few months, the project will be completing, which is exciting. Once it is completed, Manicaland will have easy access to medicines and that reduces the long time that we are currently enduring to acquire them.
“The medicines currently pass through Mutare en-route Harare for distribution, which means they take too long to reach our hospitals and clinics. Once the Mutare warehouse is complete, collecting medicines from Harare will be a thing of the past.
“Medicine that will be coming into the country via the Beira Corridor will no longer have to be transported to Harare where they are currently being stored for distribution. Provinces close to us will also benefit as they will be collecting the drugs from Mutare, and not Harare.
“While the province is close to the port of entry, we could not store all the pharmaceutical shipments as we had a small warehouse which stores only a quarter of what the new warehouse will store,” said Dr Mukuzunga.
He said the warehouse will improve access to health services as envisaged under National Development Strategy (NDS1).
The advent of Covid-19 and the expansion of the Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) programme resulted in the need for more space to store pharmaceutical products as Government moved to ensure that everyone has access to health services.